Hui Cai, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Health and Wellness Program, where she teaches the capstone design studio. Prior to joining the faculty, she taught at the University of Missouri, Columbia. She also served as the Health + Science research leader and designer at RTKL Associates in Dallas. Professor Cai received her Ph.D. degree in evidence-based design from the Georgia Institute of Technology after several years of architectural education and practice in China and Singapore.
She has strong interests in cross-cultural studies on healthcare design. Her dissertation was the first of its kind, exploring the cultural dimensions of nursing unit designs under a holistic framework encompassing the national and organizational culture of healthcare. It provides a comprehensive comparison between the U.S. and Chinese nursing unit typologies with quantitative metrics through space syntax analysis.
Dr. Cai’s current research focus is using a performance-driven and evidence-based design approach to analyze the relationship between culture, human behavior, and the physical environment, especially in healthcare settings. Her research activities include conducting post-occupancy evaluations (POE) on healthcare facilities and other buildings.
Professor Cai’s goal for teaching students is closely related to her research endeavors. She focuses on developing students’ critical thinking capabilities and the links between architecture, behavior, and culture. In 2011, the International Academy of Design and Health recognized her with the prestigious International Academy Award in Research for her work in linking spatial configurations of nursing units with communication and coordination among care givers.